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97-year-old Coventry musician is BBC radio’s motivational guest

A 97-year-old Coventry-based musician, took to the airwaves for a Monday Motivational Guest slot on BBC Radio CWR (The Sound of Coventry and Warwickshire) this week.

Joyce Hancock of Earlsdon Park Village was interviewed by BBC presenter Sandra Godley on her Monday evening show. Wearing Coventry’s signature blue Joyce, who was introduced as Sandra’s oldest guest, visited the studio to discuss attending church for over 90 years, her piano playing, her career as a head teacher, and her time living in a retirement community.

The local church which Joyce can see from her Coventry retirement village houses some of Joyce’s favourite memories. She said: “I attended Hearsall Baptist Church all my life. It used to be full of children on a Sunday afternoon at Sunday school. I made lots of friends and I have friends that still give me a lift up there now. If you look closely from Earlsdon Park you can see the famous church star and I remember the first year that went up as well.”

Celebrating her 97th birthday on January 3rd, Joyce witnessed the signing of the first covenant between churches in the city, four decades ago! She also spent many years as headteacher at Courthouse Green Primary School. “Once a teacher, always a teacher,” Joyce told the show.

Sandra who visited the ExtraCare retirement village herself in 2016 “right at the beginning” when it was built asked about life at the village, where Joyce has lived since 2018: “I was delighted to come to the village. I can even see where I was born from here, I was born in 1926 on Kingston Road.”

“I’ve gotten to know people very quickly here because I play the piano. I was around three when I began playing. For 20 years I also played the violin. I began learning that when I was 60. I joined the Heart of England orchestra, and I used the piano to help me learn my violin parts. I also played while I was a headteacher. When I came to Earlsdon Park Village I was the pianist for our sing-songs, we have lots of jolly songs and it’s lovely, all of it is.”

Joyce was surprised with a late birthday cake at the end of the show. When asked how she felt about recently turning 97 she was delighted: “I’m very, very thankful and I wonder why I’ve been so lucky. I feel very fortunate.”

To hear more of Joyce’s story and her brilliant reaction to her surprise cake, take a listen here.